Bungie announces major crackdown on third-party peripheral cheaters, bans incoming

Destiny 2's Root of Nightmares raid.

A Shadow Cabal raid boss filing a player support complaint after I used a cheat controller to no-scope him. (Image credit: Bungie)

The PvP community in Destiny 2 is rarely a happy one, which is understandable given that at one point the mode had gone almost three years without a new map. These days Bungie seems more engaged with making improvements to the flagship Iron Banner and Trials PvP modes (we don't speak about the Competitive playlist), but until today hadn't really engaged with the complaint from top level players that cheaters are using third-party input devices such as XIM and Cronus to gain an unfair advantage. 

In the video below, Destiny 2 content creator Fallout Plays explains how these peripherals "plug into your PC or console and do really dumb things that should not be allowed in competitive PvP." He cites turning off weapon recoil completely on the controller or adding extra aim assist as typical techniques the cheaters are employing.

Though there can be legitimate reasons related to accessibility for using these sorts of programmable controllers, it's also been apparent for some time that they're a major source of cheating across a wide variety of online multiplayer FPS games. Today, Bungie announced it's had enough, and punishment is on the way. From the studio's weekly blog post: "Bungie embraces the use of external accessibility aids that enable an experience the game designers intended but will take action, including bans, on people who abuse these tools specifically to gain an advantage over other players."

The section dealing with cheating using input devices is titled "Bungie's stance on third-party peripherals entering their villain arc". It says: "Our community has grown increasingly frustrated by a form of cheating that uses third-party peripherals with the intent to manipulate the game client. These devices are plugged into a computer or console, where they can—for example—execute simple scripts or trick the game into giving you extra aim assist". 

Bungie goes on to clarify some specifics, and makes it sound like the net is going to be cast pretty wide. The tech being targeted "includes, but is not limited to, programmable controllers, keyboard and mouse adapters, advanced macros, or automation via artificial intelligence". That last part is particularly interesting to me, as I fear that the rapid advance of AI is going to open a whole new battlefront between botters and the developers trying to police them.

"Some players that abuse these tools rise in PvP ranks at a rate far beyond what is expected for a player improving through typical play," says Bungie, hinting at how it plans to detect the dirty cheats. Although PvP is clearly the focus of the policy, PvE shenanigans are also going to be looked into. "Because the benefits of cheating in PvE can affect things like the World First Race or even spill over into PvP, we will be evaluating all gameplay for violations".

I'll give the last word to Fallout Plays, who explains in his video (opens in new tab) why this stuff matters to those still gaming clean: "I can completely imagine if you don't play a ton of PvP this might mean very little to you, but to me and a lot of other people out there who haven't gone completely mad yet from playing PvP, this is a big win. Because of the power of these devices, the community has been getting really vocal lately. Especially when you have other big games like Fortnite, Call of Duty and Rainbow 6 all cracking down on those devices, I think it was only a matter of time before Bungie followed suit, and I'm glad to see it happening."

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.